Is Buchholz finally ready to stick?

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buchholz-100318.jpgIs it possible? Is Clay Buchholz all “growsed” up?

It’s certainly sounding like it after another strong spring outing by the confident young right-hander. And with less competition in camp this spring, the 25-year-old has his mind set on finally earning a regular spot in Boston’s starting rotation.

[From MLB.com]

“Last year I sort of knew that I didn’t have a spot coming into Spring Training, because we had Smoltzie and BP in front of me,” Buchholz said. “So it was a little different. But at the same time, I’m preparing the same, going out and trying to do the things that I work on out of the game, and I’m trying to bring them into the game. So I feel the same. It’s the same goal to break camp with the team, and that’s going to remain my goal for the duration of Spring Training. But nothing really different about it.”

This sounds like a different Buchholz from the guy who admitted frustration at being stuck in the minors last season.

Instead, he sounds determined to win a starting spot for the long term and not just until Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to full health. Maybe he will finally get a chance to live up to the promise he showed so spectacularly with a no-hitter back in 2007.

And whether he sticks long term or not, it seems likely he’ll cease to be the constant subject of trade rumors. Unless, you know, a certain basher in the Pacific time zone becomes available. Then all bets are off.

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The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.